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Pelesky v. Rivers Casino & Holdings Acquisition Co. L.P

United States District Court, Western District of Pennsylvania

February 19, 2015

RIVERS CASINO AND HOLDINGS ACQUISITION CO L.P. a joint venture Walton Street Capital, L.L.C. and High Pitt Gaming, L.P., Defendant.


Arthur J. Schwab, United States District Judge.

Presently before the Court is Defendant’s 12(b)(6) Motion to Dismiss Plaintiff’s Complaint alleging that Defendant, her employer, violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act and the PHRA. Specifically, Plaintiff’s Complaint alleges that Defendant is liable for sexual harassment by creating/enabling a hostile work environment, in part, by not complying with its own sexual harassment policy.

I. Standard of Review

In considering a Rule 12(b)(6) motion, Federal Courts require notice pleading, as opposed to the heightened standard of fact pleading. Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2) requires only “‘a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief, ’ in order to ‘give the defendant fair notice of what the . . . claim is and the grounds on which it rests.’” Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 554, 555 (2007) (quoting Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41, 47 (1957)).

Building upon the landmark United States Supreme Court decisions in Twombly and Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662 (2009), the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit explained that a District Court must undertake the following three steps to determine the sufficiency of a complaint:

First, the court must take note of the elements a plaintiff must plead to state a claim. Second, the court should identify allegations that, because they are no more than conclusions, are not entitled to the assumption of truth. Finally, where there are well-pleaded factual allegations, a court should assume their veracity and then determine whether they plausibly give rise to an entitlement for relief.

Connelly v. Steel Valley Sch. Dist., 706 F.3d 209, 212 (3d Cir. 2013) (citation omitted).

The third step of the sequential evaluation requires this Court to consider the specific nature of the claims presented and to determine whether the facts pled to substantiate the claims are sufficient to show a “plausible claim for relief.” Covington v. Int'l Ass'n of Approved Basketball Officials, 710 F.3d 114, 118 (3d Cir. 2013). “While legal conclusions can provide the framework of a Complaint, they must be supported by factual allegations.” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 664.

This Court may not dismiss a Complaint merely because it appears unlikely or improbable that Plaintiff can prove the facts alleged or will ultimately prevail on the merits. Twombly, 550 U.S. at 563 n.8. Instead, this Court must ask whether the facts alleged raise a reasonable expectation that discovery will reveal evidence of the necessary elements. Id. at 556. Generally speaking, a Complaint that provides adequate facts to establish “how, when, and where” will survive a Motion to Dismiss. Fowler v. UPMC Shadyside, 578 F.3d 203, 212 (3d Cir. 2009).

In short, a Motion to Dismiss should not be granted if a party alleges facts, which could, if established at trial, entitle him/her to relief. Twombly, 550 U.S. at 563 n.8.

II. Background

The following facts are accepted by the Court as true solely for the purposes of deciding this Motion.

Plaintiff’s Complaint alleges that she is a cocktail waitress for Defendant and has been working as such since February 1, 2010. Doc. no. 1, ¶ 7.On April 27, 2014, Plaintiff alleges that one of Defendant’s customers put his hand down her shirt, placing a casino chip in her bra, and made contact with her breast in the process. Id., ¶ 9. Plaintiff alleges that she notified a supervisor of the incident, and ultimately, she was interviewed by the State Police. Id., ¶¶ 10-11. When asked by the police if she wanted to press charges against the customer, Plaintiff was told that the customer would be banned for life from the Casino. Id., ¶ 11. Plaintiff alleges that as a result of the promised lifetime ban, she declined to press charges. Id.

Plaintiff further alleged that the offending customer was a signature card member at the Casino and that several weeks after the incident occurred, Defendant lifted the lifetime ban against him and allowed him to return to the Casino. Id., ΒΆ 12. Plaintiff was not told that the ban had been lifted; rather, she came into contact with the customer ...

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